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Innovative measures employed to combat poverty

By Liu Jianna | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-09 08:09

Luo Xiangjun, who comes from an impoverished family in Xieyuhe, a village in Ankang city in the south of Shaanxi, was surprised by how quickly and smoothly he received unpaid wages of 13,000 yuan ($1,844) that had been delayed for more than a year.

All he had to do was post a message asking for help on the Mobile Poverty Alleviation WeChat account set up by the Poverty Alleviation Office in Ningshan prefecture, which administers Xieyuhe.

Qin Changsheng, director of the information monitoring center at the office, told Ankang News that the authority had received and responded to 61 similar messages, including providing feedback, within five working days.

In May, the Shaanxi Poverty Alleviation and Development Office asked local governments to promote and make good use of popular social media platforms, including WeChat, in poverty alleviation work. It noted that the move would save time and energy for both poverty-stricken households and public servants, and keep poverty alleviation work up to date with the changing times.

As a province that is struggling with serious challenges - for example, deep, widespread poverty - Shaanxi has adopted a comprehensive, yet targeted, approach which takes local conditions into careful consideration.

Innovative measures employed to combat poverty

For example, in the mountainous southern and northern parts of the province, such as Linyou, Longxian and Qianyang counties, geographical conditions are challenging and the transportation infrastructure is poor.

To solve the problem, roads have been built as a priority to help struggling families move around and to stimulate the local economy, both of which are important prerequisites for shaking off poverty.

Local governments, including the one in Jingyang county, Xianyang, have listed education as an important tool to eradicate poverty, and provided a wealth of assistance for left-behind children and disadvantaged students, including one-on-one tuition, financial support and encouraging talks with members of the teaching staff.

Meanwhile, Pingli county in Ankang has sought to eliminate poverty by providing people with jobs in community factories close to their homes.

These innovative methods - which follow the principles of "being practical and realistic, adjusting measures to local conditions, providing classified guidance and implementing targeted poverty alleviation" that were set out by President Xi Jinping during an inspection tour of Hunan province in 2013 - have paid off.

Last year, more than 1 million people in Shaanxi threw off poverty, more than twice the number in 2017, while the provincial poverty incidence rate fell to about 3.2 percent, a sharp reduction from 27.3 percent in 2010.

Shaanxi is striving to achieve the goal set in this year's Government Work Report, which proposed lifting 565,000 people and 29 prefectures out of poverty.

Though the province still faces severe challenges in poverty alleviation as a result of the deep-rooted and complex nature of the problem, as Xi has said, as long as the path is correct, one will eventually reach one's destination.

(China Daily Global 08/09/2019 page5)

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